Monday, January 30, 2012

BAT 1/29/12

Hey, we held a practice and somebody showed up!!

Practice on Sunday was good. Considering that this was Birka weekend I expected nobody to show up. I certainly didn't expect anyone to fight.


Rehab feels like it has been set back a bit, but probably that's nothing. I did my rehab every day last week except Tuesday, when I went hunting. My elbow still feels fine most days, and I continue to do pt on it. But it has been a bit stiffer than two weeks ago. Yesterday at bat I picked up a waster in order to demonstrate, in slow motion, a technique. My elbow felt tight right away. Then I went to a sword, same thing. So I used a dagger for the rest of the day, or just open hand (the way fighters always talk). At one point I threw a light snap at the pell with the dagger and my elbow actually hurt--not bad, just a bit tender. So I'm glad I decided to skip Birka and give it another month.

Workouts, on the other hand, have been great. Not only have I been walking a lot, and running a bit, but I've been doing other things too. Beginning of the week it was walking. Last Sunday I took a two mile walk. Monday I went deer hunting, traipsing all through the snow. I was out for seven hours and probably walked a total of about three miles. Wednesday I took a mile walk. Thursday was my birthday and I even had a cupcake. No working out (other than climbing those stairs up to the balcony at the BAM Harvey Theatre, which equals about six floors. We saw Kevin Spacey in Richard III--I guess thunderous applause counts as a workout too). Friday I had a great workout! I did 25 minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym and then a 20 minute medicine ball workout (loves me that medicine ball). Saturday I did kettle bells and Indian clubs, which is my favorite workout. (Sunday, were I to count it, was 20 minutes of yoga and then two hours of slow work training people at BAT--much of that left handed, since one of my trainees is a lefty).

As noted I didn't fight again this week. However there was a really good practice. We had a newbie, Ashanti, Deklin and Duncan (who have now been around a year and are no longer newbies), Dugal, who is a really good unbelt, and Oscad who is a crown contender. It was a good mix of folk and good skill level.

Dougal fought mostly two sword. He used to fight with two long heavy swords, but has cut them down to short swords, maybe 24" long. That worked great against the new guys, not so much against Oscad.

I have changed a major portion of my fighting and it is reflected in my training style. Taking after the Bellatrix model, I had always drilled offense, offense, offense. Paul's axiom is that you train your offense endlessly so that you will have perfect technique in terms of targeting and power, and so that you don't have to think about your offense during a fight and can devote most of your time to your defense. In period what we do was always referred to as the "Art of Defense", and all the fechtbucher describe mostly counter or reactionary techniques as opposed to offensive techniques. I have started becoming more of a defensive fighter than an offensive fighter, and a bit of a counter puncher (not exclusively). Now I have started training my students in this manner. I want them to defend. This worked fairly well with Duncan when he fought Oscad. I gave him Paul's defense drill (the defending fighter gets three and only three blows, and the offensive fighter gets as many as he wants, kills are just called out). With his last blow he threw a perfect offside coutner and killed Oscad, the only time he did so.

I also gave him the first part of my new kata, which seemed to help him a bit with power generation.

Good week.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Calontir Crown

I have reached the doldrums of my rehab. It is frustrating. I want to be fighting. I want to be training. I am being careful instead. Bright idea, I know, but not happy making. However, I did get to both 12th Night and visit a foreign kingdoms crown, so I’ve gotten to watch some fighting, which is frustrating but educational.

I am on an extended trip, and working out hasn’t been easy. Workouts have mostly consisted of walking (lots of it) and yoga. I took a class on Tuesday in Sacramento. I did a lot of walking in Capitola and in San Francisco. I was on my feet a lot last night. But I have not really worked out this half of the trip. I took a Total Body Sculpt class at this fantastic gym in Palo Alto called Vivre. (I saw that they had a free day pass for newcomers, and I wanted a workout). Great facility. It doesn’t have a squat rack, so serious weight lifters are not their clientele. It is a lot of the Mercedes and Jaguar crowd. But they have good machines, lots of spin classes, and a spa-like locker room. Albert, the teacher of my aerobics class, had a bit of Marine in him, which was good. I had real trouble keeping up due to my Achilles issues. At some point in the class I tweaked my back slightly. It was a really good workout combining palates, weights, and aerobics, and it kicked my ass. It took me two days to recover.

I brought along a rubber band and my new flex bar. (the flex bar was a big hit at 12th Night, since everybody was saying “I’ve been having elbow problems—I showed it to Duke guy and he loved it). I have skipped a couple of days but I’ve been keeping it up. My elbow feels great. I am still weighing when I want to get back into it. I am leaning against going to Birka at this point. I still feels tight when I grip the sword—not painful, but warning me it is there. We’ll see after I do some Indian club work this week.

Needless to say, I haven’t been fighting. However, I have been able to watch a lot of fighting. Duke Guy was fighting at 12th Night. I mostly missed him, but saw a bit. He is one of the greatest. His style is pure power, and it is one of the most fun fights you will ever have. Jade was doing some unarmored training. Gui had never watched him before, and he was amazed at the precision of his form, even in slow work. I was digging how his feet were more in line than usual.

The real treat was an unexpected visit to Calontir Crown. I was going to be in St. Louis visiting a friend, and it turned out Crown was that weekend and local. I really enjoyed it. It was only a 16 person list (no byes) and it went by really fast. They held it indoors. They had a very nice list enclosure. Because it was so small they did one fight at a time. The list table was off to one side with a huge shield-board and a double-bracket tree. Calontir seems to be a small shield kingdom, and the fighting was faster and more elegant than you usually see in the East. The two most impressive fighters all day ended up in the finals. One was Duke Donegal, a left handed fighter with a center-grip round shield. He was beautiful to watch, with deep steps and lots of interesting angles to his shots. Like all center-grip lefties his defense was amazing. The other finalist was Sir Lucien, a Roman with a center-grip oval. His fighting was a bit more compact and efficient. He didn’t have quite as many shots available to him as Donegal did, and only Donegal had a thrusting tip. However, his style gave him an nearly perfect defense. Donegal won the first fight and Lucien the second. They double killed in the third, then Lucien won. Twice Lucien talked Donegal out of taking a blow that would have won him the crown. They were very hard, fast fighters and it was a joy to watch. I’m not sure I learned anything, but I liked it.

This is a shot of Lucien in his semi-final. He came out of the losers list.

I really like the Calontiri. They remind me of the West in AS 13. It is probably all the singing.

The new year is upon us. It is either 14 or 15 weeks to Eastern Crown. (date tba).